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Retail Mergers: Buyer Power and Product Variety

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  • Inderst, Roman
  • Shaffer, Greg

Abstract

This Paper analyses the impact of retail mergers on product variety. We show that a merging firm may want to enhance its buyer power vis a vis suppliers by delisting products and committing to a ‘single-sourcing’ purchasing strategy. Anticipating this, suppliers will strategically choose to produce less differentiated products, which further reduces product variety. If negotiations are efficient the loss in product variety reduces overall industry profit and, possibly, also consumer welfare. With linear tariffs, however, there may be a countervailing effect as the more powerful retailer passes on lower input prices to final consumers.

Suggested Citation

  • Inderst, Roman & Shaffer, Greg, 2004. "Retail Mergers: Buyer Power and Product Variety," CEPR Discussion Papers 4236, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4236
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Inderst, Roman & Wey, Christian, 2007. "Buyer power and supplier incentives," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 647-667, April.
    2. Palfrey, Thomas R, 1983. "Bundling Decisions by a Multiproduct Monopolist with Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(2), pages 463-483, March.
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    4. R. Preston McAfee & John McMillan & Michael D. Whinston, 1989. "Multiproduct Monopoly, Commodity Bundling, and Correlation of Values," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(2), pages 371-383.
    5. Henrick Horn & Asher Wolinsky, 1988. "Bilateral Monopolies and Incentives for Merger," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(3), pages 408-419, Autumn.
    6. Katz, Michael L, 1987. "The Welfare Effects of Third-Degree Price Discrimination in," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 154-167, March.
    7. Tasneem Chipty & Christopher M. Snyder, 1999. "The Role Of Firm Size In Bilateral Bargaining: A Study Of The Cable Television Industry," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 326-340, May.
    8. Dobson, Paul W & Waterson, Michael, 1997. "Countervailing Power and Consumer Prices," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(441), pages 418-430, March.
    9. William James Adams & Janet L. Yellen, 1976. "Commodity Bundling and the Burden of Monopoly," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 90(3), pages 475-498.
    10. Paul Dobson & Michael Waterson, 1999. "Retailer power: recent developments and policy implications," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 14(28), pages 133-164, April.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    buyer power; horizontal mergers; retailing;

    JEL classification:

    • L00 - Industrial Organization - - General - - - General

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